Cabin air filters are found on most late model vehicles. They clean the air that comes into the cabin through the ventilation, heating and cooling systems. The filter catches small particles such as pollen, dust, and other airborne materials, so they don’t enter the cabin. A person that has allergies or respiratory problems can benefit greatly from having this type of filtration system.

Where Are The Filters Located?

Cabin air filters are usually found behind the glove box or under the windshield’s base located where the outside air comes into the vehicle. Some hybrids may have a separate cabin air filter for the battery cooling system located in the rear of the passenger compartment. Many consumers do not realize that they have this type of filter or that it does need to be changed.

How Often Should You Change Your Car Cabin Filters?

Each vehicle manufacturer has their own recommendation on when you should change the filter. This information can be found in the owner’s manual of the car. Generally, the recommendation is to change them every 12,000 to 15,000 miles or once a year, whichever comes first. A maximum benefit can be obtained by changing it twice a year.

The driving conditions make a huge difference in when you should do a cabin air filter replacement. If the car is driven in a dusty environment, such as a desert climate or on dirt roads, it will need changing more often to reap the benefits it offers.

What Are The Signs of Needing a Cabin Air Filter Replacement?

Several items can alert you to the need to replace a cabin filter. You may notice a significant reduction of airflow from your air conditioning or heating vents into the cabin. When you turn the fan up to the highest setting for maximum airflow, you may notice that it makes a lot of noise, but the airflow doesn’t increase very much. If there are bad odors in the cabin, your cabin filter may need changed, as it isn’t capturing them in the filter. Mold and mildew are the most common persistent bad odors that you would notice, these occur if the filter is neglected and it becomes a breeding ground for these types of spores.

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America states, “Researchers think nasal allergies affect about 50 million people in the United States, affecting 30 percent of adults and 40 percent of children. Allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S.”

What Are The Types of Cabin Air Filters?

There are two main categories of a car cabin air filter: dust or dust and odor combination. The dust type can trap particles as tiny as 0.3 microns. This includes exhaust soot, smoke, mold spores, pollen and bacteria Most filters of this type will stop up to 100 percent of all particles that are 3 microns or larger. They will also trap 95 to 99 percent of 1 to 3 micron particles.

The dust and odor combination type of cabin air filters have activated charcoal or baking soda in them to absorb air pollutants and odors. Some of these types of filters also include a light, clean-smelling scent.

Sources:
http://www.aafa.org/page/allergy-facts.aspx
http://mdhmotors.com/cabin-air-filter-why-and-when-to-replace/
https://www.knowyourparts.com/technical-resources/filtration/cabin-air-filter-replacement/